Round 3, 87th Overall: Cameron Thomas, DE, San Diego State
Chandler Jones left in free agency, and J.J. Watt is 33 years old with his best play likely behind him. This is a home run pick for the Arizona Cardinals, who desperately needed a pass rusher. Thomas is a big defensive lineman (6’4” 267) who played both defensive end and defensive tackle at San Diego State. He played on the edge more last year and won the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Award, tallying 10.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in 14 games.
I’d seen some 2022 NFL mock drafts that had Thomas being selected in the second round, so for the Cardinals to get him with the 23rd pick of the third round is tremendous value, and why I have the pick graded so highly.
Cameron Thomas can play the run in addition to being able to rush the passer, and it’s for this reason that Arizona might look to play him at 3-4 defensive end. He should be strong enough to effectively set the edge and occupy blockers while possessing the requisite skills to consistently pressure the quarterback. As much as I like this pick for the Arizona Cardinals, their next pick left me scratching my head.